Director of People Operations and Culture

Website Center On Rural Innovation

About Us

Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), a dynamic social enterprise solving America’s rural economic crisis by empowering small towns to build thriving digital economies, is seeking nominations and applications for the position of Director of People Operations and Culture.

Guided by a belief in rural ingenuity and small-town potential, RISI and its sister organization, the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), support communities wanting to evolve into inclusive, resilient digital ecosystems. Our comprehensive systems approach to building digital economy ecosystems involves building a nationwide network of local economic change agents; using mapping and data to highlight rural opportunities; making direct investment in underserved rural entrepreneurs; and closing the digital divide so all Americans can participate in the 21st century digital economy.

Founded in 2017 in Hartland, Vermont, CORI and RISI have grown into dynamic enterprises bridging rural America to the future of work, and building scalable support for rural entrepreneurs in the digital space. The enterprises support communities through a comprehensive set of strategies, including the Rural Innovation Initiative (RII) and Rural Innovation Network (RIN), broadband strategies and consulting, mapping and data analytics, and the CORI Innovation Fund (CIF).

COVID-19 has challenged assumptions about where digital economy jobs and tech talent can exist, and we are seizing the moment to create a more equitable distribution of these high-paying jobs. Recognizing the diversity of rural communities, CORI and RISI have called for transformative action to address the tremendous disparities communities face and are actively working internally and externally to further transformation efforts. Across the varied challenges, CORI and RISI partner with rural community leaders and employers to build capacity to develop digital economy ecosystems.

In this next stage of growth, RISI is seeking a passionate and engaged leader to launch and manage a comprehensive human resource function for CORI and RISI and support our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. The new People Operations Director will lead the development of our people operations and cultural practices to meet the needs of a rapidly growing team. While priorities may shift in this period of expansion, we expect the director will focus on these critical projects in the first year:

-Ensure we have the human resource systems, processes, and practices in place to ensure legal compliance and effective onboarding of new staff.
-Partner with internal hiring managers and external supports to ensure recruiting practices and systems are inclusive and carried out with an equity lens.
-In partnership with an external consultant and internal working group, facilitate the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
-Explore operational configurations for post-pandemic office practices, considering a geographically dispersed and currently remote team.
-As time allows, contribute to larger organizational efforts to support distributed technologist work initiatives across our network.

We are headquartered in a historic general store building in the village of Hartland, Vermont, a part of the Upper Valley and greater Dartmouth College region with a distributed team across the country. For more information, please visit our website:


-Experience launching and managing a comprehensive human resource function
-Experience leading and managing all aspects of HR for a fast-growing, early-stage organization
-Firm understanding and specialized training in employment law, compensation, organizational planning, organizational development, equity and inclusion, and employee relations
-Proven capacity to identify and implement systems, practices and culture to support an organization that has both on-site employees and geographically distributed team members
-Experience administering a comprehensive benefits program
-Experience creating and managing compensation and performance management frameworks
-Experience driving inclusive recruiting efforts for a growing organization

-Deep experience leading a robust recruiting and onboarding program for staff from communities across the country
-Ability to refine and enhance recruiting strategies to attract professionals from diverse networks
-Experience scaling a fast-moving team while sustaining an evolving positive workplace culture
-A clear record building and growing a diverse and inclusive workforce
-Experience supporting organizational change focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

Required Skills/Competencies

-Excellent verbal and written communication skills
-Excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills
-Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
-Excellent time management skills with a proven ability to meet deadlines
-Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
-Strong supervisory and leadership skills
-Thorough knowledge of employment-related laws and regulations
-Knowledge of and experience with varied human resource information systems
-Knowledge of and experience with applying principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to hiring and culture-building
-Capacity to manage a wide set of priorities simultaneously
-Ability to direct and coach colleagues within a non-hierarchical organizational structure


Essential Qualifications

-7+ years of experience in human resources
-Strong computer skills, including use of Google Suite, web based collaboration and project management tools, and virtual presentation platforms


Essential job functions and requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities.

This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of the job and the general nature and level of work performed by job holders within this job. However, this job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of qualifications, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position. This job description is general and may evolve over time. The description is subject to periodic updating. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional duties or responsibilities.

Location: Hartland, VT (in the Dartmouth College region) strongly preferred. We are able to provide a stipend to support relocation to the region.



-Please make sure your application materials are tailored to showcase your ability to succeed in this specific role.
-Cover letters are required. If you are applying via a platform that does not have a cover letter field, please include one in your resume file, otherwise your application will not be considered.
-Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
-RISI will manage the application and review process using our Workable platform. Please direct all inquiries through this system. We are unable to respond to phone inquiries at this time.



-Personal and professional development opportunities
-Health, dental, and short-term disability insurance
-Employer matched 401k
-The salary for this position is $85,000-$110,000, depending on experience.


You’ll enjoy working here if:

-You like strategizing in a converted general store building conference room, over an outdoor beverage, or while grabbing lunch at the new downtown cafe
-You value an entrepreneurial culture that encourages teammates to think boldly, take risks, and learn from experience
-You appreciate an independent work environment that supports diverse work styles and preferences
-You want to be part of collaborative and interested team that finds opportunities to engage each other and have fun (whether in the office or dialing in)
-You like the idea of an open and transparent organization that embraces honest conversations and new ideas


We are an Equal Opportunity Employer — people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. We are interested in your ambitions, personal experiences, great ideas, and passions, and believe that everyone’s unique story and perspective adds value to our organization.

To apply for this job please visit